In 1938, Czechoslovakian President Eduard Benes was not a very happy man. You see, he had a restive, fractious minority of Germans in the north and west of his country (an area called the Sudetenland) that the neighboring Germans were whipping up into a frenzy. These neighbors were demanding more autonomy for the Sudeten Germans, and were vocally calling for war in order to achieve that aim.
Exasperated, Benes called in the leaders of the Sudetenland and presented them with a piece of paper. The paper was blank, except for his signature. Benes offered them a pen and insisted that the faction's leaders name their terms.
That didn't save Benes, or Czechoslovakia. By the end of 1939, the Sudetenland was part of Germany, Slovakia was an "independent" state, and the rest of the country had either been absorbed by its other neighbors or turned into the "Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia." Benes was forced into exile.
Today President Obama hosted the leaders of the incoming GOP leadership for the House of Representatives at the White House for a luncheon and to talk things over.
I'm NOT saying that he is analogous to Eduard Benes.
NOR am I saying that John Boehner is Konrad Henlein.
But based on Obama's repeated bending in favor of the GOP in order to pursue some gratifying illusion of "bipartisanship," I am wondering just one thing:
Was there a blank piece of paper with Obama's signature on the table?
For the past eight years, the Oakland Raiders have not had an easy time at the hands of their hated divisional rivals, the Kansas City Chiefs. Whether in Arrowhead Stadium or the home Oakland Colosseum, the Raiders have lost and in some cases lost badly.
Today, however ...
The Raiders had a 4-4 record going into their home field, which was sold out following a challenge by rookie defense player Rolando McClain. Over the past two weeks they had beaten Denver at Mile High 59-14, and savagely beaten Seattle 33-3. Running back Darren McFadden was leading the NFL in rushing yardage.
Both teams fought hard, and a total of 240 yards in penalties (Oakland 140, Kansas City 100) illustrated that it was not a very clean fight.
But when the dust cleared, it was Oakland who won, 23-20 in overtime.
So, going into their bye week, Oakland has beaten all three of its divisional rivals once (two of them at home), and is only a half-game behind in the AFC West.
First, allow me to state that the title is not original. A journal on another website used it, and I thought it remarkably apropos.
Yes, dear readers, in a stunning triumph of idiocy over common sense we decided that doing the hard but correct thing was too difficult to handle. We also collectively decided that change was too scary for us to stick with.
As I've stated before, change moves us out of our comfort zone. It can scare us. Machiavelli said that change was the hardest thing for a leader, since even your supporters will only be lukewarm toward it, while those who oppose it will harden their positions. Sound familiar?
Summer of 2009, perhaps?
So we collectively ran back to the same vicious lout who ran us into a ditch, slapped us when we dared question or complain, and snarled that we were un-American when anyone disagreed.
The election that concluded yesterday resulted in the House flipping sides, and the House controls the nation's finances. Expect the first GOP budget next year to be all sorts of hell for the poor and the shrinking middle class. And the Senate? Well, the lame duck session will limp to its end without anything being done, despite what Hatrack Harry Reid may say about it. I don't expect any action in Washington from now until January 20th.
Remember, dear readers, that the Party that will take power in the House of Reprehensibles in January is the same Party that almost destroyed the economy, sank us into two unwinnable wars and is determined to roll back everything legislated since (in some cases) about 1868.
One might hope that their leadership will restrain the enthusiasm of the more radical members of their caucus, but don't hold your breath. Rep. John "Oompa-Loompa" Boehner will likely become the Speaker, although Michelle "Crazy Eyes" Bachmann is already angling for the #3 spot. Self-restraint will not be one of their strong suits.
Further, starting in September 2011, the economy will be the Republicans' responsibility. President Obama may submit budgets to the House, but the House controls the national purse strings. They break it, and we'll know who to blame.
Which leads me to the video clip below. It was aired on Election Day by "Citizens Against Government Waste," which by its rhetorical flourishes gives the game away by revealing that they're a right-wing "Scare the buggers to death" group financed by immensely rich people who want their tax cuts.
If you haven't seen it before, watch. It's really well made:
Of course, what they don't tell you is that China's government spent its way out of the recession by dumping vast amounts of money into public works projects. A bullet train built by them recently set a speed record of 245 miles per hour.
Meanwhile, a public works project in New Jersey - the largest in about 20 years, designed to increase the number of under-river train lines between NJ and Manhattan - was shut down by Governor Chris "Fucking Idiot" Christie, just so he could burnish his credentials with the Tea Party.
And where, you might ask, did China get the money to do this?
Simple. They got it from us, from borrowing vast amounts of money from China in order to finance our wars in such a way that they'd be out of sight, out of mind to all but those family members who have to bury their loved ones.
Incidentally, a guy told me that China was able to do their bullet train because they don't have to deal with the EPA, unions or regulations. I refrained from pointing out that he was citing a New Republican Ideal - the abolition of all safeguards in a faux-Libertarian rush that leaves Top Rail firmly on top, and Bottom Rail, well, you know where.
2012 should be interesting, particularly if things get worse.